‘Breathless Ballad Challenge’ Welcomes Would-be Songwriters

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by Mary Chapman |

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Breathless Balad Challenge

Former New York Yankees center fielder and Latin Grammy nominee Bernie Williams is helping to raise awareness of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), the disease took his father’s life, as part of Boehringer Ingelheim’s national Breathless Ballad Challenge.

The campaign aims to educate and empower people who have, or suspect they may have, IPF.

Williams wrote an instrumental piece “Para Don Berna” to honor Bernabé Williams memory, and others with IPF. In the challenge, he is asking people to submit lyrics for his piece. No songwriting experience is required.

The deadline for submissions is Sept. 1, and lyrics must be sent using the provided submission form.

The winning lyrics will be announced live Oct. 15 on Facebook @berniewilliamsofficial and @BoehringerUS, on Instagram @berniewilliamsofficial and @boehringerus, and on Twitter @bw51official and @boehringerus.

All lyrics must be inspired by a personal hero or someone for whom a participant is grateful. After submission, contestants will also be able to send a video of themselves, or someone they know, singing the lyrics to Williams’ track. Submissions, however, will be judged solely on lyrics and not on video performances.

Contestants must be at least 18 years old and agree to grant Boehringer royalty-free license to use their name and other biographical information in connection with promotion of the song or its lyrics.

“The song is inspired by the gratitude that I feel for my dad — the person who sparked my lifelong passions and who will forever be my hero,” Williams said in a press release.

As a child, Williams remembers often falling asleep to his father’s guitar strumming. One day, he summoned the courage to ask for a lesson. From that day forward, their love of music helped to bond them even closer.

IPF is the most common form of interstitial lung disease, and it affects 13 to 20 of every 100,000 individuals globally. Williams’ father died of complications of the disease in 2001.

Boehringer’s Breathless campaign is aimed at getting those who think they may have IPF to seek early diagnosis and treatment, and to offer hope to patients and families.

“When I was first diagnosed with IPF, I’d never heard of it,” said an IPF patient by the name of Connie on the Breathless webpage. “I went home and looked it up online, but there wasn’t much out there — no one seemed to know much about it. I felt like I was on my own.”

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